Mo speaks…

Mo says a few words on intelligence and the problem of being spoon-fed.

Recently, I’ve seen a few television programmes (I don’t have a TV at home, so generally watch it only rarely – that’s a conscious choice on my part). Last night I saw the BBC historical drama Charles II – The Power and the Passion. I found it really quite dissatisfying because it neither spoon-fed nor informed, but rather sensationalised and confused. The relationships of the principal characters were not well explained, and rather too much emphasis was put on the sex instead of the consequences of the relationships and blackmail that were associated with the sex.

Maybe this sort of approach gets more people interested in history. I’m not sure. But I think that there are some things that are better explained in documentary form. And before you suddenly start thinking that that is a terribly dry and dusty way to present something, on Saturday I listened to a radio documentary entitled "When the World Was Young", part of Radio 4’s season of programmes to mark the 40th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. This was fascinating and interesting, and brought the history "to life" (for want of a much better phrase) far better than a docudrama might do. Clearly it had the advantage of being able to include recordings of JFK and interviews with people who were there and knew him, but I know of similar programmes in the past when actors have been used to read the words of the people of the day, and it has been set in a framework that aids understanding. Not spoon-feeding, mind you – but a presentation of the evidence that allows the listener or viewer to draw many of his/her own conclusions and opinions.

Generally though, Charles II just reminded me of why I prefer books, radio and the web to television.